A commercial real estate broker and former scoutmaster, Craig Lindsay couldn't believe his eyes when he stepped through the door at the Shipley's Choice clubhouse on January 4. He thought he was going to a meeting about his Maryland Master Naturalist program, but he was shocked to see a crowd of more than 120 people — current and former Boy Scouts and leaders, parents, family members and friends — gathered for a surprise party.
The event was to honor Lindsay for his 14 years of service with Boy Scout Troop 339, which meets at Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church. He officially stepped down from the scoutmaster position on September 30, though he is still involved as the charter organization representative.
“I had tears in my eyes as I looked and saw all the faces,” Lindsay said. “I can't describe how touched I was.”
Former scouts and their families brought food and gifts, and they shared how Lindsay's leadership has impacted their lives. Talking to young men that he watched grow up, seeing old friends, and looking at photos from times past brought back many memories.
Lindsay was a Cub Scout as a young boy, but his real scouting adventure began when his oldest son, Ben, joined scouting. Lindsay’s younger son, Eric, eagerly followed eight years later.
Ben was in the first grade when he joined Pack 858, also sponsored by Woods Church. Lindsay discovered they needed a den leader, so he volunteered.
“That was 20 years ago,” he recalled, amazed at how quickly time passes.
He served that pack for five years as a den leader, and during the last two years, he also took on the role of cubmaster. When Ben advanced to Boy Scout Troop 339, Lindsay became an assistant scoutmaster under the leadership of Scoutmaster Wally Smith.
Looking back, Lindsay said, “Wally was kind of a legend. He lived and breathed scouting. I was so blessed to have a mentor like him showing me the ropes. Wally stepped down only when he knew the troop would be in good hands.”
Now, Lindsay is passing the torch confidently to Todd Powell.
“I wouldn't have stepped down if I didn't have Todd to take over,” Lindsay said. “He was a first-rate assistant and will be a tremendous scoutmaster.”
Lindsay and Powell met and became friends through scouting.
“Craig is a remarkable person,” Powell said. “He has connections with all of these people, and he takes an interest in everyone and in their well-being.”
Powell's sons, 17-year-old Jake and 14-year-old Cooper, are members of the troop, and Lindsay, “has been an inspiration, a role model and a mentor to both of them,” Powell said.
In a Silver Beaver (distinguished service award) nomination letter, Powell shared, “We cannot begin to list how much Craig Lindsay has done for our family, Troop 339, Woods Church, the Greater Severna Park Community and scouting.”
Powell referenced countless hours at meetings and conferences, merit-badge counseling, Eagle coaching, monthly campouts, troop summer camps, district camporees, high adventure camps, blood drives, Adopt A Highway, Memorial Day flag placement at the veterans cemetery, Scouting for Food, Eagle Scout projects and many community service projects.
During Lindsay's tenure as scoutmaster, 70 boys achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest honor in Boy Scouts. Lindsay attributes the achievements to each Eagle's individual hard work, and to the many wonderful adult volunteers who encouraged and supported them.
Though pleased with the achievement of his Eagles, Lindsay emphasized that he is proud of all of his scouts. His primary goal has been focused on the Boy Scout mission: “…to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the scout oath and law.” He believes in it and led the whole troop in strategically embracing the mission. Doing so builds character and integrity and develops leadership.
Reflecting on his years as scoutmaster, Lindsay said he's grateful to his wife, Mary, for her support.
“I couldn't have done it without her,” he said, while also praising his daughter, Morgan, for her support.
Scouting can change lives, according to Lindsay. For some, it gives them structure and peace in their lives.
“For many scouts, it's being around other adults who know who they are and recognize that they are important persons,” Lindsay said. “I've had boys say to me, ‘Mr. Lindsay, you always knew my name,’ or they say, ‘I came to the meeting scared, and you came up and talked to me and really listened.’ They needed adults who cared for and validated them.”
Scouting changed Lindsay's life. He's made strong, lifelong friends, but most importantly, he's gained lifetime memories with his sons. “We've hiked many hundreds of miles, explored caves, climbed mountains, kayaked, sailed boats, gone whitewater rafting and many other wonderful adventures — there were so many amazing experiences that we shared,” Lindsay said.